Free Geek, Twin Cities, is located in Minneapolis, MN. It is a non-profit organization based upon the concept of another non-profit organization, Free Geek in Portland, Oregon. When you search "free geek" and found the results, be sure to click on the one located in the Twin Cities. This one is located n Minneapolis, St. Paul. (http://freegeektwincities.org/)
Volunteers working in the Recycling Area of Free Geek
Most of the computers that were being donated were given another life. Sometimes, only a few parts are needed to rebuild it to usable status. Some of the laptops that I have seen were just slow and just needed upgrading; some just needed one part or another. Volunteers are being taught by other volunteers on how to test the various components for usability, identify the various parts that can be rebuilt; what parts needed to be replaced. Volunteers then rebuild them and Free Geek sells them to those who are in need of low-cost computers.
This is the RAM Memory Testing Area of Free Geek. Here the RAMs are tested for usability.
It is easy to volunteer at Free Geek. All you have to do is attend the orientation and tour every Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and one of the staff volunteers will give you a tour of the facility. You may start to volunteer on the same day. There are no rigid schedules. Everything is flexible. When you get there, they will ask you to sign up - and that is the start of your becoming a volunteer. Just come any time on the days that they are open: Wednesday to Sunday, from 12 pm to 5pm.
Volunteers usually start working at the Recycle area. Here, you will be breaking down computers and other electronic items and separate the various components according to their elements. Metals of same kind will be put in a bin together. There are huge containers for plastic; and also hug containers for putting the metal removed from the electronic gadgets. You will be taught on what kind of screwdriver to use, how to identify the various kinds of metals, identify the various components and computer parts. You will be using various tools, such as pliers, cutters, hammers, etc. (Safety glasses recommended).
For most of the volunteers the main reason is education. Most volunteers come to volunteer their time at Free Geek so that they could learn about computers, i.e., the various parts. how to test the various parts, and most importantly how to build them. There are a number of interns from various computer schools that volunteer hours at Free Geek. Some of them do not have any computer knowledge other than what they learned in school; some are experienced. Today, I met someone who worked at Geek Squad. In one day, he tested, rebuilt and installed operating system for one desktop and 2 laptops. That's a lot of experience to donate. One volunteer is from the University of MN. He oversees the huge network at the U.
There are perks for volunteers. After putting in 24 hours, volunteers are entitled to a one time $40.00 credit toward any computer or other items that are for sale at the Free Geek's computer store. The computer store is also located in the main facility. It is like a thrift shop for computers.
And personally, for me, the most important part is knowing that you are helping other people and families out there that could not afford to purchase computers. Happiness is being part of an organization that enables the people and families to be able to have access to the computers and internet. Self fulfillment and satisfaction are the greatest rewards in volunteering.
OK - so see you there! Free Geek Twin Cities is located at 2537 25th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN (be sure to use the parking lot entrance behind the bowling alley).
These computer monitors are now ready to be sold.
Free Geek is staffed by 100% volunteers. You can see that the spirit of volunteerism is alive and well in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul.